In Blaine, the Hope For the Community Food shelf welcomes the added assistance. They’ve been as busy as ever, distributing food for up to 3,000 people per week. Officials say the demand for help at food shelves across the state is unprecedented.
“Before COVID we were serving 500 to 600 families a week, and then once that hit we’ve been serving anywhere between 800 to 1200 families a week,” said Dr. Alan Goracke of Hope Church. “Its really been intense.”
Goracke says the additional money from the state will help food shelves build capacity for the long haul. In Anoka County, unemployment ballooned to more than ten percent in May. The demand for help also went up, and Goracke says it hasn’t dropped.
“We thought this was going to be just a temporary blip. But we think when federal unemployment ends at the end of July that it will only continue and intensify in the fall,” said Goracke.
The expectation was for high demand for only a few months. But Goracke says the added need may extend up to three years before families recover.
“There will be delays I believe in not only people being able to get their footing not only in employment, but in fighting the food insecurity that they deal with,” Goracke said.
Goracke says with government help and donations from individuals and corporations, they’re building a sustainable model for the long term, one he’s certain can keep up with demand.
“We’ve got an attitude that you know what, outside of God there’s no human being that can stop us from serving people, and we’re going to do it,” he said.
Since the pandemic began, Governor Walz says visits to food shelves have jumped 30 percent.